Review and Recommendation Report of the Portfolio Committee on International
Relations and Cooperation, dated 24 October 2012
1.1 The role of the Committee
The Portfolio Committee on International
Relations and Cooperation (the Committee) is a committee of Parliament mandated
by the sections 55 & 92 of the Constitution of South Africa,
to oversee and ensure accountability in the formulation and conduct of South
African foreign policy. Consequently, the Committee conducts oversight on
activities of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (the
Department), its policies, financial spending patterns, administrative issues,
and holds the Department accountable for its operations and functions. The
Committee is an important mechanism for ensuring oversight and conduct of
In accordance with section 5 of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act No.9 of 2009, National Assembly, through its committees, must assess the annual performance of each national department and submit Budgetary Review and Recommendations Reports (BRRRs) for each department, for tabling in the National Assembly. These reports will be considered by the Committee on Appropriations when it is considers and reports on the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) to the House.
In compiling this report, the Committee as mandated by section 5 of the Money Bills Amendment Procedures and Related Matters Act 2009, based the assessment of the Department in its service delivery plan as espoused in the 2011 State of the Nation Address. The Committee linked domestic priorities to the Departmentís Strategic Plan 2011 Ė 2014 and aligned the information to priorities and measurable objectives as set out in the strategic plan. The Committee examined the expenditure report as published by the National Treasury, commonly known as Section 32 Reports of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). Reference was also made to the Auditor-Generalís report on the 2011 Budget Vote and the Departmentís Annual Report, which contains the Departmentís service delivery information, reflecting its performance in 2011/12 reporting period.
1.2 The Legislative Mandate of the Department
The overall mandate of the Department is to work
for the realization of
2. Departmentís Strategic Priorities and Measurable Objectives
2.1 Strategic Plan of the Department
The Departmentís strategic objectives as prioritised in its 2011-14 Strategic Plan comprise the following broad points to enable the Department to fulfill its mandate:
2.2 Measurable Objectives of the Department
The Strategic plan is categorized into 6 key priority areas for the reporting year, aimed at responding to the domestic priorities as announced by government for the reporting year as follows:
During the reporting period, the thrust of the work of the Department remained anchored on these overarching priorities as confirmed by the January 2011 Cabinet Lekgotla and the 2011 State of the Nation Address (SONA). In its work on these priorities, the Department is supported by the following activities:
3. Analysis of the Departmentís Prevailing Strategic and Operational Plan
During the reporting period, the Department
remained focused on ensuring that
†In response to President Zumaís
clarion call in his 2011 SONA for the alignment of the international relations
policy to domestic priorities such as job creation and poverty alleviation,
activities underlining economic diplomacy have been prominent. Quite evidently,
President Zuma has led many delegations comprising the South African business
fraternity to various countries in Africa, Asia and
In pursuing its mandate in respect of economic
diplomacy, the Department continued to reflect a bias towards
†The Department continued to operate in an uncertain international environment and budget constraints. It received a budget allocation of R5, 153 billion for the 2011/12 financial year after the adjustment estimates. The 2011/12 budget depicts an increase of R438 million in comparison to the 2010/11 budget allocation. The increase is attributable to an additional R200 million transferred from the Department of Environmental Affairs for the hosting of the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and savings from inflation-related adjustments with regard to a number of operational items. Environmental diplomacy has become one of the main international focus areas with serious consequences for the future of the climate change regime and domestic economies. During the reporting period, the Department spent 97,5 per cent of its appropriated allocation.
It operates in a dynamic environment that
combines varying legislative and monetary regimes that impact on its foreign
The Department executed its mandate against the
background of an ever-changing political and economic environment. The
international environment is characterized by major shifts in global political,
economic, social and cultural dynamics that impacted on different parts of the
world and include: the emergence of new economic powers; the new phenomenon of
media and social networks; environmental change; heightened demand for scarce
resources and the changing nature of conflict and insecurity. In order to
survive in this environment,
During the reporting period, the global economic
crisis continued to accelerate the shift in the balance of political and
economic power towards the emerging economies. The trading patterns continued
to shift to new markets, with notable growth in South-South trade between the
emerging economies. The consequence of these changes resulted in the Department
One of the biggest changes witnessed during the
reporting period occurred in the Middle East and
4. Analysis of Section 32 Expenditure Reports
As at the end of the fourth quarter, the Department had spent R5.020 billion or 97.4 per cent of its adjusted or available budget of R5.153 billion. Under spending of R133.304 million or 2.6 per cent is mainly under goods and services under programmes 1 and 2. This was as a result of reprioritisation of funds within the baseline to cater for unfunded priorities through scaling down on missionsí operating expenditure and deferment of other funded projects. This was done mainly to cater for the budget shortfall for the hosting of the 17th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP17/CMP7) and the African Diaspora Summit.
Figure 1: Comparison between actual and projected expenditure per programme
Source National Treasury
∑ Programme1: Administration: As at the end of the fourth quarter, the Administration programme had spent R1.162 billion or 93.8 per cent of its available budget of R1.239 billion. The under spending is mainly under payments for capital assets as a result of poor planning.
∑ Programme 2: International Relations and Cooperation: Total expenditure under this programme as at the end of the fourth quarter amounted to R2.551 billion or 98.1 per cent of its available budget of R2.610 billion. Although this programme has under spent by a marginal 1.9 per cent, it has over spent on its compensation of employees by over 20 per cent, of which details are included under the analysis of economic classification.
Programme 3: Public Diplomacy and Protocol
Services: As at the
end of the fourth quarter this programme had spent R487.453 million or 98.6 per
cent against its available budget of R494.402 million. Under spending is mainly
under compensation of employees due to vacant posts. Although the programme has
under spent its overall budget, goods and services recorded an over spending as
a result of the late payments of invoices for the hosting of the 17th
United Nations Framework Convention
on Climate Change
(COP17/CMP7) conference held in
∑ Programme 4: International Transfers: As at the end of the fourth quarter, this programme had spent R819.585 million or 100 per cent of its available budget of R819.585 million. Although spending has been slow in the first three quarters, spending of the total budget was achieved in this quarter because most of the transfers to foreign organisations and the African Renaissance Fund were made in March 2012.
Figure 2: Comparison of actual and projected expenditure by economic classification
Source National Treasury
As at the end of the fourth quarter, expenditure for the Department amounted to R5.020 billion or 97.4 per cent of its available budget of R5.153 billion. Under spending of R133.307 million or 2.6 per cent is mainly under goods and services in programmes 1 and 2 due to reprioritisation of funds and under payments for capital assets.
Current Payments: The Department spent R3.920 billion or 99.7 per cent of its available budget of R3.931 billion of current payments, under spending its budget by a marginal R11.533 million or 0.3 per cent.
∑ Compensation of employees: Spending on compensation of employees amounts to R1.934 billion or 116 per cent of the available budget of R1.666 billion. The over spending is as a result of a higher than budgeted for cost of living adjustment (COLA) for the locally recruited personnel under programmes 1 and 2.
∑ Goods and services: Spending on goods and services amounts to R1.934 billion or 88.4 per cent of its available budget of R2.193 billion. The under spending is attributable to a departmental reprioritisation of funds within the baseline. This was in order to fund the shortfall in the budget for costs associated with the hosting of the COP17/CMP7 conference in November to December 2011 and also realise savings that were to be spent on the African Diaspora summit.
∑ Other: a significant amount under other expenditure relates mainly to interest and rent on land which amounts to R46.995 million or 65.4 per cent of the available budget of R71.914 million.
∑ Transfers and subsidies spent R827.962 million or 100 per cent of its available budget of R827.680 million, including transfers to households. The international transfers to international organisations spent R819.588 million or 100 per cent of its final appropriation.
∑ Payments for capital assets: An amount of R230.603 million or 65.4 per cent was spent against the available budget of R352.639 million, under spending by R122 million or 34.6 per cent. The under spending is as a result of deferment of some projects to cater for the unfunded projects and is recorded mainly under machinery and equipment under the Administration programme.
∑ Payments for financial assets: A re-evaluation of the cash book resulted in the department realising R41.991 million which was used to augment budget pressures under operations.
The department made virements amounting to R9.645 million from goods and services under International Relations programme to International Transfers. Amounts of R207.538 million was also shifted between the Administration, International Relations and Public Diplomacy and Protocol Services programmes, mainly from savings under goods and services to compensation of employees and payments for capital assets.
Some of the Departmental achievements in the fourth quarter include the following:
Presentation to the 4th
President Zuma reported to the 26th NEPADís Heads
of State and Government Orientation Committee meeting on progress regarding the
Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative (PICI) as part of the 18th
Session of the African Union (AU)
Hosted an Extraordinary Meeting of the Double
Troika and an Inter-State Politics and Defence Committee (ISPDC) on the
SADC candidate for the African Union Commission (AUC), and provided feedback on
Hosted an Extraordinary SADC Double Troika ISPDC in
February 2012 during which the intention of
Hosted the United States/South
5. Analysis of the Departmentís Annual Report and Financial Statements
The Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation considered and analysed the Annual Report of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation for the 2011/12 financial year.
The focus of the assessment is on the performance of the key programmes of the Department comprising of Administration, International Relations and Cooperation, Public Diplomacy and International Transfers. The Departmentís performance is measured against its own set targets as identified in the Strategic Plan of 2011-2014. It is also measured against Governmentís key priorities identified in the Presidentís State of the Nation Address of February 2011 and the Governmentís Medium Term Strategic Framework 2010-2015. Other key measures comprise of the moral values and principles that underpin the countryís foreign policy. The source documents for this analysis include the 2011 Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE); the 2011 State of the Nation Address; the report of the Department of Monitoring and Evaluation; as well as the Departmentís Strategic Plan 2011-2014.† The analysis gives special attention to Programme Two, International Relations and Cooperation, as it is the Programme which executes the core functions of the Department. The Departmentís African Renaissance and International Co-operation Fund report for 2011/12 is also assessed in this report.
It is important to mention that the Committee noted that the 2011-2014 Strategic Plan, as a basis for the Annual report, did not have ĎSMARTí objectives. As they are, the objectives make it very difficult to assess performance of the Department as they have no measurable outcomes, timeframes nor targets for service delivery. However, it was reported that the Auditor-General intervened before the Annual report was tabled, taking the management of the Department through a course to assist it to come up with ĎSMARTí objectives. The result has been that the report shows some improvements, whereas the linked Strategic plan remains not specific to targets.
5.1††††††† Performance per Programme
5.1.1 Programme One: Administration
Main objective: The Programme is responsible for overall policy development and management of the Department.
Achievements: †Consular services were rendered to South
Africans affected by among others, piracy and kidnappings in
The Department completed the
construction of a new Chancery in
The Department also purchased an
official Residence in
†The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) programme saw the completion of the Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP). This provides an integrated communications infrastructure for telephone, email and other applications between missions and head office. The financial statements were submitted on time as required by the National Treasury. The Department managed its cash flow in compliance with the Public Finance Management Act, 1999 (PFMA) requirements.
In response to President Zumaís call to assist with employment of the youth, the Department recruited 50 young unemployed graduates in a year-long internship programme.
A Youth Directorate has been established in the office of the Director-General in line with the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) requirements, to advance the interests of the youth internationally. The Department filled 285 posts, 134 of which were internal promotions and 151 external appointments.
Challenges: However, the Auditor-General has granted a financially unqualified report with findings. The report and the Internal Audit raised questions with regard to the strategic objectives of the department in some incidents not being ĎSMARTí, and at times supply and chain management rules and regulations not being followed in procurement situations.
There is still no visible coherent
The Department was not able to complete the processes listed below despite their undertaking: the White Paper on Foreign Policy, Foreign Service Bill, processes for the establishment of the South African Development Agency (SADPA) and the establishment of the South African Council on International Relations (SACOIR). The percentage of women in senior management level is still very low, itís currently about 36 percent overall.
The Department continues to render agency services to other partner departments stationed abroad and also for delegations travelling abroad. These services included the payment of expenditure on behalf of other departments, as well as revenue collection and repatriation for the Department of Home Affairs. The missions have not been able to provide supporting documents, like copies of receipts, in some instances, leaving the Department unable to claim all the monies owed to it due to lack of proof of payment.
Main objective: The function of
this Programme is to promote bilateral and multilateral relations. It also
facilitates the Departmentís participation in international organisations and
institutions, in pursuit of
The UN tenure coincided with South Africaís
term in the African Union Peace and Security Council and assuming a seat as the
Chairperson of the SADC Troika. The positions in the UN and Africa reaffirmed
commitments and actively positioned
During the reporting period, South
Africa was fully involved through SADC mediation and facilitation in Zimbabwe
and Madagascar; seeking peace and a political solution in Libya; and continuing
its leadership role in the Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD)
process in Sudan, which made a small but a significant contribution to the
creation of the 54th state in Africa, South Sudan. One of the
highlights during the reporting period was the successful hosting of the
historic COP17 in December 2011. The Presidency of South Africa secured the
second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, a key outcome for
In order to strengthen the political
and economic integration of SADC,
†In furtherance of the AUís all inclusive
development agenda, a successful Global African Diaspora Conference was held on
25 May 2012. Significantly, this year,
As part of the
Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) forum,
A total of 106 bilateral and
multilateral agreements were signed during the reporting period. Of importance
were those relating to space technology as a new race is developing for space
science to be used for economic development purposes. Under the relations with
the strategic countries of the North, the EU continued to be the strong partner
The Agreement on Extended Health
Challenges: There is a vast
area of activities in which
†The Palestinian question remains unresolved,
denying the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.
Main objective: Among the main
tasks of the Programme is to provide an effective State Protocol service as
well as to ďcommunicate an understanding of
Achievements: The Department has
created accounts for new social media platforms to communicate and interact
with a wider audience to intensify the understanding of foreign policy. These
are: facebook, twitter, u-Tube and other publications. The number of diplomatic
missions opening in
Challenges: Public diplomacy is seen as a methodology rather than a tool for advancing national interest. Every time there is a need for a virement, funds are diverted from these programmes as it is not such a priority.
6. Consideration of Reports of Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA)
With reference to previous audit reports, SCOPA has made some observations relating to unauthorized expenditure in the 2006/7 financial year to the amount of R98, 918 million which is still awaiting authorization. The unauthorized expenditure related to the overspending of the vote or a main division within the vote. SCOPAís resolution on this case is still awaited.
There are no SCOPA resolutions for the reporting year 2011- 2012
7. Consideration of Other Sources of Information
7.1 The State-of-the-Nation address
The 2011 State of the Nation Address outlined a set of key
strategic objectives to be pursued by the Department during the financial year
2011/12. There was a clear indication of continuity in policy perspective,
regarding pursuit of economic diplomacy and aligning foreign policy to domestic
priorities. Africa and SADC featured prominently for the realisation of a
7.2 Report of the Auditor-General of
The Auditor-Generalís audit opinion from 2010/11 has remained unchanged in 2011/12 reporting year. The office has expressed an unqualified audit opinion with findings on the pre-determined objectives for the periods 2010/11 and 2011/12, hence there was a regression in audit opinion from clean in 2009/10 to Ďunqualified with findings on pre-determined objectives and/or compliance with laws and regulations as follows:
a. Goods and services with a transaction value between R10 000 and R500 000 were procured without inviting at least three written price quotations from prospective suppliers as per supply chain management rules.
b. The financial statements and other information which were to be included in the 2011/12 annual report were not checked for completeness and accuracy before submission for audit.
c. Indicators on the performance information were not well defined and targets not specific and measurable.
d. The management of the Department did not report on progress made in achieving measurable objectives to the executive authority on a quarterly basis as required.
e. Financial statements were submitted for auditing having not been prepared in all material aspects in accordance to all accounting standards. These were subsequently corrected.
f. Employees performed remunerative work outside their employment without written permission from the relevant authority as legally required.
g. Awards were made to suppliers who did not submit tax certificates for compliance.
h. The usefulness of the annual performance report was put in doubt as performance targets were neither specific nor measurable; performance indicators were neither verifiable nor well defined.
i. The Accounting officer did not ensure the existence of transparent systems of internal control, showing performance plans monitoring systems and reporting details to measure output
j. Payments due to creditors were not often settled within 30 days from receipt of an invoice as required by the Public Finance Management Act, 1999 (PFMA).
k. Leadership and accounting officer needs to improve the level of oversight responsibility on reporting and compliance with regulations at all times.
l. Leadership should regularly review management reporting best practices, mentioned practices failed to detect misstatements of financial statements and performance information submitted for audit.
m. The asset management information was not regularly updated for completeness and accuracy.
It may be appropriate for the Department to address the concerns raised by the Auditor-General and state how it aims to ensure that these problems do not recur. A report back to the Committee is crucial as this is the second time laxity with office procedures has been reported.
The African Renaissance and International Cooperation Fund (ARF):
The purpose of the ARF is to promote economic
cooperation between the
An amount of R 450, 370 million for 2011/12 was budgeted for transfers to the Departmentís public entity, the African Renaissance Fund.
The Auditor-General has pointed out that as the ARF is a Schedule 3A public entity, hence it has been recommended that a separate accounting system be acquired for the entity. The Fund financed the following seven projects during the report period:
The Auditor-General pronounced unqualified audit opinion with material findings on the performance of the Fund as follows:
It is important for the Department to iron out outstanding issues relating to proper management of the ARF before SADPA comes into place to ensure seamless transition and smooth start by the envisaged agency.
7.3 Source:† The Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation
The assessment by the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation has the same results as the Auditor-Generalís report.
8. Committeeís Observations
Overall performance by the Department in the reporting year has been satisfactory. The Committee is encouraged by the efforts undertaken to contribute towards improving lives of fellow South Africans; a stable and secure continent; and creating a better world for all.
The Committee is so far satisfied that the Department has utilized its budget in accordance with its plans for 2011/12. A lot of significant achievements were reported, and some concerns raised which show there is still room for improvement. The issues raised by the Auditor-General warrant undivided attention of the Accounting officer to ensure that there is no recurrence. There will always be room for improvement. The Committee regards this as work in progress and the Department should make the necessary adjustments in service delivery where needed.
The Committee is of the opinion that overall the Department has performed according to the goals it had set itself for the 2011/12 reporting period. The 2011/12 budgetary allocations of the Department were generally aligned to the national strategic priorities outlined in the 2011 State of the Nation Address, as well as its strategic direction in terms of its Medium Term Expenditure Framework. The unqualified audit report with findings, when rectified, will still be a positive indication of commitment of purpose by the Department to diligently execute its mandate.
The Committee acknowledges that in general there are challenges facing the Department which can have a bearing on its service delivery programs. In the midst of the international environment of a global meltdown, the missions abroad have to deal with decreased support for developmental assistance from cooperating partners.
The unpredictable foreign exchange portfolios, have been negatively affecting the operations of the Department, especially in the missions, where the bulk of its activities take place.
†In order to further assist the Department to enhance its performance, the Committee recommends that the Minister ensures that the Department implements the following and report to the Committee within three months of the publication of this report:
In pursuit of the African
Renaissance Fund activities in
In its multilateral engagements, the
Department should seek funding for the operationalisation of the NEPAD
Presidential Infrastructure Initiative in order to create jobs and improve the
lives of the poor in
3) There should be regular physical verification of all assets globally, as well as continuous update of the Asset register to ensure its accuracy and completeness.
4) A refresher workshop for middle and senior management on creation of ĎSMARTí objectives and targets; supply chain management; asset management and property management would be of benefit for future compliance with audit requirements.
5) Performance contracts should be signed as required and assessments must be completed for all senior management staff to be able to fairly distribute performance dues and also to gauge the performance of this level of officers that they are able to deliver on the mandate as required.
†In the light of recent natural and man-made
disasters, there is a need for a continuous and vigorous popularization
campaign for Ď
Training of internal language
personnel could reduce spending on secured external consultants for translation
of documents and communication with foreign missions. Security of information
should also be considered. A deliberate programme for learning languages of the
countries of the South, especially Mandarin, should be adopted, as
The predisposition towards
9) Public diplomacy should keep the world and the country abreast of what constitutes South African foreign policy through proactive information packages of decisions to be taken, or immediately after they have been communicated.
10) The Department should give regular updates regarding performance of missions abroad for the Committee to monitor alignment of the mandate to domestic priorities.
11) †A regular update on the activities of the Youth directorate should be made to the Committee.
Research and development should be
strengthened in order for
13) Regular consultations, engagements and lobbying of the permanent five countries in the UN Security Council is of great importance. Seeking a common ground with the African Group in the UN Security Council is paramount for the Departmentís prevalence in the Council.
14) A coordination mechanism should be created between departments for identifying which strategic organizations should be targeted to field South Africans for available positions.
15) The Department should cooperate with Committee in shaping the route of international discourse where issues of national interest feature.
16) There should be feedback on the Departmentís response to the Auditor-Generalís report with findings.
17) The Department should report, on a quarterly basis, progress with regard to points 1,2,3,6 and 7 above.
†Report to be considered.
ß Annual Report 2011- 2012 Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
ß Strategic Plan, 2011- 2014, Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
ß Treasury, Vote: International Relations and Cooperation, Estimates of National Expenditure 2011.
Zuma, J.G. 2011, State of the Nation
Address at the Joint Sitting of Parliament.
ß The African Renaissance and International Cooperation Fund Act 2000
ß Assessment of the performance of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, by the Department of Monitoring and Evaluation- The Presidency.